Fred called tonight to remind us that it was Jessica’s birthday. Would she have been 36 today? I can’t remember. All I can remember is that a fabulously-alive young woman who so loved life was taken way too soon.
Jessica had a degenerative heart condition. She tried so many things and finally made the decision to get a heart transplant. She went into the hospital with great optimism. Sadly, the hospital let her down. The operation had complications. There was a massive infection and Jessica’s new heart just could not get her through it. She died August 2005.
It’s important for her family to focus on those wonderful and precious times we were privileged to share with Jessica. I for one enjoyed our dinners, our thrift store finds, the books she gave and her advice regarding fashion. Jessica always was a wonderful cousin to Brett. Whenever there was a school performance, she would be there for him.
In my kitchen sits a small jar. It’s filled with a strange mix of dried lemons, orange rinds and spices. It’s the remnants of a special gift from Jessica. The Christmas before she left us she had come to our house, loaded down with boxes and jars full of goodies she had made. She had baked zucchini bread, prepared scented olive oil, dried potpourri and made candies. That day at our house she was beaming – so proud of all the wondrous foods she had made. We almost got sick eating all the fudge and candied fruits. It was a wonderful, wonderful Christmas gift.
We’ll always keep that jar, brimming with a nice fragrance that brings to mind happy times and family love. I carried it from NYC, and it’s still here in my Tucson kitchen. Hey, Jessica! I still have your Tarot cards! And your lamp and your dictionary! We love you Jessica. We will keep you in our hearts forever.